The Surprising Truth About New User On-Boarding Tours

TL;DR A ridiculously slow, step-by-step tour increased our conversions by ~50%

In polite conversation, there are certain topics we tend to avoid. How much money do you make? Which marriage are you on? Are you for or against tours for webapps?

Well, maybe I’m stretching a bit on the last one. But not by much.

Tours are a divisive topic; there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. Either you think that they’re necessary and vital to ramping up your users or you consider it an atrocity of user experience design.

I’m thoroughly torn on the topic. On one hand, I’m a big fan of getting quickly introduced to an app’s main concepts, the interface, and how things work. On the other hand, I’m not an idiot, and most tours expect you to have the intellectual capacity of a grapefruit.

Welcome to the Blogtour! Here is a word. You can read this word. Read this word now! Great job! +2 points

However, I noticed that some very successful products (Zynga, Dropbox, World of Warcraft) were using those detailed, hold-your-hand walkthroughs. If those guys were using long, slow tours, they had to have some positive effect, right?

Was it possible that walkthroughs would end up to be another version of long-form sales copy? Something that feels so wrong but converts so right?

So when it came time to figure out the onboarding process for Musubi, I knew it had to test it out. Do they help or do they not? Should I spoon-feed each click to a user? Do I have to wear a bag over my head and code only in the dead of night?

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Just a little Background

Goal: Get In Groups
Before we get to the juicy bits, let’s get some background out of the way. Musubi helps you become unforgettable with smart keep-in-touch reminders and targeted network updates for important contacts. In order to get those reminders a user has to group contacts together, which helps us know who to reach out to and when. The system lives and dies on whether or not someone creates a group. That’s our conversion goal.

Three Tours
To test a variety of tour types, we tested three different onboarding flows, named after various kinds of animal kingdom parents, with roughly equal user flow:

  1. Timid Turtle: No tour at all; just add your accounts and swim! What do I do? I have no idea. What's new on Reddit?
  2. Moderate Meerkat: A 3 step, semi-interactive overview of the main concepts of the webapp and how to get the most value. Quickly describes the best practices of getting started
  3. Doting Duckling: 13 step, click-by-click guide through the main concepts and usage, including creation of your own group. Click here. Good! Now read. Now click here. Good!

Some interesting results

Tour Completions (Finished all steps)

Tour completions scale inversely with tour length

No surprise here - completions scale pretty much as you would expect; everyone finishes a tour with 0 steps, about 70% will go through 3 steps, and a very special 3% of people will happily watch their grass grow while finishing a 13 step tour.

So in the battle of tours, short tour clearly wins, right?

Wait a minute…

Group Additions (Added a new group)

Hand-holding increases the chance a user will create a group

Mind blown: though long-tour takers are least likely to finish their tours, they are most likely to actually complete the goal.

And in case you’re thinking, “Of course they’re most likely to make a group, you forced them to”, here are the engagement/retention rates 30 days after sign-up.

User engagement, 30 days after sign up

Long-tour users are also the most engaged, even after tour periods have ended

Long tour still wins.

How does this work? How can it be that the tour least likely to be finished actually converts the best?

A possible explanation?

A hypothesis: Momentum and ego.

The long-form tutorial is truly abysmally pedantic. It drags you through the smallest steps; a small flying dot shows you exactly where to click and when. A turnip could complete the tour without much trouble. The steps fly by.

Six steps in, you’re flying. We remind you that you’re halfway through. Those first six steps sure were easy, werent they? The whole app seems easy. By the time you hit the ‘create your own group’ step halfway through, you ‘get it’. You want to get done.

"That tour’s for suckers", you think to yourself. "I’m no sucker".

You made you own group, then another (Did I mention that you’re 30% more likely to have more than 1 group? You are). You never finished the tour because you were busy getting value out of the product already. For reference, 70% of people who abandoned the long tour did it after creating a group.

Long tourers gain interest over time; short tourers spike early on then crash once they become lost; no-tourers are just lostLong tours build you up; short tours become a flash in the pan

Contrast this with the other two experiences: In the no-tour situation, you’re thrown in without any lead whatsoever. You only have a vague notion of what the app does. They want you to connect email and social accounts. There’s no reminders showing. You click aimlessly, don’t see the purpose, and drift off.

The short tour case is harder to explain. Before starting, I really thought that this would be the highest converting option: you get the key concepts from the app on how it can help yu most, then it lets you off on your own to get things done. Simple enough, right?

But from talking with these users, I’m starting to think that the mental hurdle of what to do after the tour is the major stumbling block here. By introducing users the the concepts of the application, we let them know how it works, but the responsibility is on them to actually go and make it work the way they want it to. For someone who has spent just 60 seconds in your app, it can be overwhelming, to the point where they just quick and make a note to ‘do it later’. Which of course, means never.

A surprising conclusion

So to sum up:

  1. Give your users concrete actions, not concepts, even if they’re glaringly obvious
  2. It’s easier to follow many small steps than a few big steps, even if there are many more small steps
  3. Hand-hold the user through your highest-value step as early as possible

In other words, get your paper bag ready because those awful, slow, dumber-than-dirt tours work.

Wait, peanuts contain peanuts?!Captain Obvious checking in, here to save you from accidentally eating peanuts that contain peanuts.

This isn’t the result I expected. Personally, I was really rooting for the short tour to win: it just feels like the right thing to do, and even after looking at this data, I’ve still got an irrational soft-spot for it. Not insultingly obvious, still covering the main value adds - it just feels like the tour you’d give a good friend. I’ll try a short, mainly interactive tour next and see how it goes.

But for now, it’s hard to argue with the results. The Doting Duckling micro-tour is going in my playbook right next to long-form sales copy: something I’m not entirely comfortable with but which definitely warrants consideration.

You might say that it’s an ugly duckling that can’t be ignored.

Sorry, that was terrible, I’ll show myself out now.

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Humanistic Networking, otherwise known by it’s scientific name “making friends”, is still the best way to develop a productive, connected, and supportive network. Alex Godin has a great blog post reminding us why that is:

Instead of hustling and networking, your time is much better spent being a human being. Listen to others, engage with them, have a conversation, become friends. Be interesting enough that they’re eager to see you and hear from you. When they do something cool, send them an email and congratulate them. Instead of networking, scampering around trying to build your LinkedIn profile, build lasting relationships with people you respect. When you show people respect, something magical happens, people respect you back and it pays off. Suddenly, they want to help you win.

Why do we lose touch with friends?

Sometimes you just want to go back to the good old days

At birth, you had no concept of self. You existed in the environment, but you could not determine what was you and not-you. You were, as my parents called it, a “potato-baby”.

At around 2 years old, you developed your “self-ness”. You realized that you were an independent person, and that your actions affected the world around you. Your parents remember this as the period where you found the magical word ‘No’, a simple utterance which could change what everyone else did.

When you first went to school, you developed friendships. You realized that there were people who you liked, who wanted to play with you, and who were fun. There was no selection criteria involved; as Louie CK would say, you fit together because “you were the same size”.

Soon, social cliques formed. You found a strong sense of needing to belong: your identity became a group’s identity. You were a band kid or a jock or a nerd, and damn proud of it too. You and your friends had all the same habits, you did all the same things, you wore the same clothes. These social ties defined who you were.

But then, one day, this identity was stripped from you.

Perhaps it was in college, where no one cared what your major was. Perhaps it was your first job, where you needed to metamorphasize from a partying frat boy into a buttoned up professional. Perhaps you moved, leaving behind your past.

And then you were you: not just a social description but an independent person. A personality. A name.

Freed from your social obligations, you began to focus on things that mattered to you: your significant other, work, a career, family.Your friends did too.

You became a successful professional. You excelled at work. You got into new hobbies. You had kids, little bundles of all-consuming joy.

Slowly, almost without you noticing, you stopped seeing your friends.

It wasn’t intentional. You meant to get together, but alwasy “next week”. You were “busy”, you were “snowed under at work”. Next time, I promise.

New priorities took place of old. New kinda-friends displaced deep, old, but geographically distant, friendships. Even when you did manage to meet up, the social obligations which made you so close in the past had faded, no more a part of you now than the scrapbook photos they were memorialized in.

At your last reunion, you found out that an old friend had passed away. Cancer. Two years ago. You crumple into your seat, flabbergasted, not because they were gone, but because it had taken two years for you to find out about someone you used to see every two hours.

"How did this happen?", you would ask yourself. "Where did we go wrong?"

It was all too easy.

How do I restart a friendship?

Here at Musubi we love to hear about the rekindling of relationships - it’s one of the major reasons we started in the first place! We hear reports every day of our customers reconnecting with long-lost contacts, picking up their friendship like nothing ever happened.

But it’s not always that easy - if it’s been a while, it can feel awkward or uncomfortable to get back in touch. Who knows if they even remember you?

Relax. We’re here to help. We’re going to share our 3 favorite tips for rekindling that relationship with an old friend.

1. Do it now: No excuses

The most common problem we have when reconnecting is giving ourselves excuses or rationalizing why we won’t reconnect right now: “Oh I’ll do it tomorrow” or “Maybe when I have something interesting to say”.

Stop. These are excuses, and they are toxic.

First off, don’t be scared about it being awkward; reconnecting with someone is flattering for them. You’ve thought enough of them to reach out again! I don’t care who you are, that’s an ego boost in itself. You don’t have to say anything more than “Hey we haven’t talked in a while; do you have some time to grab coffee or drinks?”. If you really were friends, it shouldn’t be hard to get to see them again.

Furthermore, reconnecting brings a big sigh of relief, as it takes away that nagging guilt everyone has for not reaching out to their friends enough.

Follow up likelihood drops steeply if you don't act immediatelyFollow up likelihood drops steeply if you don’t act immediately

But finally, excuses make it much less likely that you actually go ahead and reconnect. If you delay 1 day, what’s 1 week? Soon enough it’s been 5 years and you don’t even know their relationship status, let alone their email address.

No excuses.

2. Friendship is an investment; treat it like one

Heard of Dunbar’s number? Robin Dunbar, a British anthropologist, studied the brains of apes to figure out why social animals are, well, social. Just what is a social bond, and how do we form them?

Dunbar’s research led him to conclude that there is a specific, physical part of your brain that manages relationships, located in the neocortex. The amazing thing is that the number of social bonds we can maintain is directly related to how big this part of the brain is. For most people, this ‘social brain’ can only remember around 150 ‘real’ friendships.

Getting a friend back in this “active friendship” group requires that you invest time in your relationship. If it’s been a while since you’ve last connected, you should plan on setting aside time for 2-3 get-togethers in the near future to get your friendship on sure footing again. A tool like Musubi can help you ensure that you reconnect consistently instead of becoming a flash in the pan.

Repeated interactions are required to reboot a friendship successfullyRepeated interactions are required to reboot a friendship successfully

3. Meet in person

In addition to studying our capacity for relationships, Dunbar also studied the impact of different kinds of interaction on relationship strength (You might remember hearing about that research from when we wrote about the science behind successful networking).

Here’s the quick recap: Relationships need face to face interaction. In face, the average friendship only lasts around a year without an in person meeting! There’s something about being able to see your friend’s smile, their body language, and their touch which our social brain craves, and you can’t get it any other way.

The reasons for friendship are often very different from what we'd expect rationally The reasons for friendship are often very different from what we’d expect rationally

This is doubly as important when reconnecting: all those little cues help our brains dig up, rediscover, and reinforce the dormant friendship we once had.

That’s how you get those long-lost friendships which seem to never have stopped; our brains still remember those friendships, but they’re out of our active memory. It just takes a little push to bring it back.

Bonus: Revertigo, or why reconnecting is a behavioral time machine

When reconnecting with an old friend, it’s not uncommon to experience behavioral regression, or, as a recent sitcom deemed it, “Revertigo”.

Believe it or not, revertigo is a real phenomena. It’s a side product of the rediscovery phase mentioned in Tip #3: when your brain digs up the details of your dormant friendships, it also recovers many of the actions and habits associated with that friendship.

These associations are a key part of how we connect with friends. Social bonds establish a ‘shared history’ of inside jokes, behavioral quirks, and other cues which give us a sense of connectedness; the more shared history we have, the more we identify with a person.

Without any recent shared history to go on, our brain falls back to our old shared history for connectedness; like a time machine, it takes us back to the latest point we have together, even if that’s many years in the past.

In this post we covered our three favorite tips for reconnecting and explored the roots of Revertigo. Now for you. How are you reconnecting with your friends? What went well? What went wrong? Eager to hear your stories.

How to Turn New Acquaintances Into Your Personal Evangelists - The Science Behind Successful Networking

The coffee in my cup had gone cold a while ago, but the caffeine wasn’t what had me trembling with excitement. It was the first time I’d met with Tim, a professional contact I’d been introduced to, but it felt like we’d known each other for years. We clicked instantly - we shared the same fondness for moonshots and lamented the same tired ideas we saw day to day.

Two hours into our 30 minute coffee chat, I felt my blackberry’s urgent beeping signaling the end of our time together. Damn, things were just getting interesting.

"Let’s keep in touch!", Ben offered, sympathetically.

"Yeah, let’s definitely keep in touch…"

I trailed off, trying desperately to think of something else to say: anything other than “keep in touch”, because "keep in touch" is bullshit. It’s the death-knell to any professional relationship, where you enjoyed each others company but resign to the fact that you will not, in fact, keep in touch. You might as well not say anything at all.

This got me thinking: What is it about “Lets keep in touch” which so thoroughly ensures that you will absolutely not keep in touch? Why is it so easy to let professional contacts just slip away? And what can we do to stop or even reverse this?

How we make friends

Kids at play - By Fabiana One part of the answer is determined by how we make friends.

Alex Williams, of the New York Times, wrote an article on how hard it is to make friends once you’re over 30. The article is definitely worth your time to read, but the important bit we’re interested in is that sociologists have determined three factors that contribute to the creation of a strong friendship:

  1. Proximity
  2. Repeated, unplanned interactions
  3. Trust

Why are these important?

  • Proximity increases the chance that we interact, particularly face to face, which turns out to be critical in the development of a healthy friendship. Robin Dunbar, the sociologist famed for postulating the maximum number of meaningful relationships a person can have, has done extensive research into how our relationships are formed. One of his most striking findings is that how you interact with a friend is closely linked to the strength of your friendship: in Dunbar’s research, the average friendship cannot maintain “closeness” beyond 6-12 months without a face-to-face meeting!

  • Repeated, unplanned interactions are how we cement our friendships. It’s not enough to have two compatible personalities; a true friendship includes a shared history which bonds you together. McCullogh, Worthington, and Rachal established that this positive history benefits us in two ways: it makes us feel happy to see each other and it lets us forgive each other more easily, creating a more durable relationship.

  • Trust is how we advance and develop our relationships. Deep in each of our brains is a powerful, primal instinct Seth Godin calls the Lizard Brain, which controls our feelings of fear. The Lizard Brain is what gives you that uneasy feeling about what you can or can’t tell someone and it significantly limits how close you can become by always making you second-guess interactions. By gradually establishing trust, we train our Lizard Brains to accept this person, allowing us to connect at a much deeper, more meaningful level.

Mini-break: Why Unplanned Interactions?
I couldn’t find a response to this question in my research, but I have a theory: it’s triggering our brains’ habit-forming pathways.

Nir Eyal has done some fantastic research on why our brains love variable rewards (I highly recommend his piece on desire engines as well). The short version is that variable rewards trick our brains into hunting for ever-increasing rewards, creating a compulsion to do the same action over and over again which we call “habits”.

These friendship building unplanned interactions use the same pathways to associate positive feeling with specific people: when we have an unexpected interaction with a friend, we get a variable reward (i.e. having fun, sharing hardship, or other experiences). By repeating this cycle over an over again, we create a “friendship habit” which positively links us to a specific person.

A Different Approach To Networking

Never know who your friends will become... How does this apply to professional contacts? At its core, networking is just making friends, which means that we have to overcome the same obstacles of proximity, repeated interactions, and trust. So how do we take the principles we’ve learned about and apply them to our networking to turn casual acquaintances into friends rooting for your success?

At its heart, networking is just making friends, which means that we have to overcome the same obstacles of proximity, repeated interactions, and trust.

1. Meet Face to Face(time)
Professional contacts, almost by definition, will not have physical proximity to you. They’ll work in another building, perhaps even across the globe. So how do we establish proximity?

Solution: Go out! Meet face to face when you can. Coffee, lunch, or drinks are all excellent options for finding a way to meet personally. But if you really can’t, don’t despair: Dunbar’s findings suggest that video chats are almost as effective as in-person meetings at maintaining a relationship. So grab a Skype date or Google Hangout and catch up!

2. Spontaneous-ish
It seems almost impossible: how do we get spontaneous interactions with professional connections when we don’t seem them often and have little interaction?

Solution: Increase your intersection area, creating as many possibilities for interaction as possible. Again, here we can use technology to expand beyond meeting around the water cooler: Follow then on twitter and respond to their messages; participate in the same forums; check in with no intent other than to see how they are doing.

Psst… the cheater’s solution: Use timed reminders on a service like Google Calendar or Musubi to check in with a contact. It won’t be spontaneous for you, but it will be for them, and it’ll have the same habit-building effect.

3. Give generously and be vulnerable
When you first met your friends, did you instantly ask yourself “What can this person do for me”? Of course not. Yet when making professional contacts it’s one of the first things we tend to do - who can help me in the future, who can provide something I need? Who would want to work with, let alone trust, someone like that?

Solution: Trust comes from giving generously and being vulnerable. Yes, your typical networking advice applies: help contacts without having been explicitly asked, whether that’s sending referrals, interesting articles, or potential positions. But nearly as importantly, show vulnerability: ask for advice on something that didn’t go as well as you’d hoped or share your disappointment on something that didn’t work out. Showing weakness triggers our empathetic response, and makes someone more likely to help you out.

All of these tips boil down to one core theme I’ve swiped from Alex Ohanian, a co-founder of Reddit: Do It Like A Decent Human Being. It’s human networking, after all.

Your Turn

Now your turn. What are your solutions to the “keep in touch” doldrums? Have you found a super-effective way to keep those contacts close? I’m eager to hear about your experiences taking a professional contact to the next level!

3 Steps To Turn Your Boring Network Into A Career Catapult

The old cliche goes “It’s all about who you know”, but what if you don’t know anyone ‘good’?

Don’t sell your network short. Just because no one has plopped a job into your lap doesn’t mean that they can’t be helpful. As Derek Sivers recalls in this short vignette, even the guy you share a pizza with can change the course of your career.

Caveat emptor: You have to work for it. If you’re too lazy to put time, effort, and care into your relationships, even knowing Bill Gates won’t be worth a damn.

The good news is that it isn’t hard. Derek does 3 incredibly simple but powerful things to make this relationship work, which I’ve emphasized in the story below.

He walked into the classroom just before class began, and I heard him ask the teacher, “Oh, I thought we were going to have food.”

The teacher said, “Oh, no, sorry, I thought you ate already! Didn’t you have lunch?”

Mark said, “Damn. No. And it’s a two hour class. Oh well.”

Hearing this, I quickly ran out of the room and called Supreme’s Pizza, asking them to deliver three large pizzas to classroom #115.

45 minutes later, the pizzas showed up. I gave one to Mark and shared two with the class.

He smiled at me and said, “Good move. I owe you one. Here’s my card. Call me any time, and let me know how I can help. When you come to New York City, I’ll be happy to meet up.”

For the next two years, I took him up on that, sending him my new songs for feedback, and he’d tell me his insights and advice about the music industry.

When I told Mark I wanted to move to New York, he said, “Send me your resume, and I’ll find you a job.”

Sure enough, a few weeks later, I got a call in my dorm room from Julie Gengo at Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, saying, “We need someone to run our tape room, and Mark Fried said we should hire you. Can you start Monday?”

Just like that, I was in.

This little story is so short and simple that it’s easy to miss the key points. But there are three amazingly powerful actions to learn from:

  1. Derek listens for needs and acts on them: Not only does he hear that Mark didn’t have anything to eat, but he does something about it. Surprisingly few people will go that extra step to make something happen, but when you do it makes an incredibly positive impact.

  2. He follows up on Mark’s offer for help: You would be amazed at how often someone gets offered a favor and never follows up. They’re giving you permission to enter their lives! Don’t just waste it by letting it slide!

  3. Derek informs Mark of his goals and asks for advice: Your contacts aren’t mind readers. Unless you tell them your goals, they can’t help you achieve them! This is not the same as just cashing in favors; Derek doesn’t ask for a job. This is bringing your contacts into your life and enabling them to help you.

These three simple things take that story from going like this:

I once met a guy at a networking event. I got his business card and emailed him once. I hope he remembers me.

Into this:

Derek Sivers TED talk (That’s Derek giving a TED talk on how to start a movement. It’s worth your time.)

One of the mantras of networking (and the many social networking sites that people are flocking to) is that it matters who you know. The goal of having a thousand or more friends online is that you’re well known. Connected. A click away.

I wonder if there’s a more useful measure:

Who trusts you?

Hello world (and your internationalized characters)!

I’m proud to say that today, Musubi supports non-english characters and many internationalized forms of Gmail!

Here at Musubi, we deal with a lot of email from all over the world - over 2 million messages from users in 13 countries. And though we’re based in San Francisco, not all of our users email in English.

But with the help of our savvy beta testers, we’ve managed to get many international languages and localities of Gmail working with our system! Localities as far away as Taiwan have reported success.

However, we’re always adding in more localities into the system. If your specific region isn’t yet supported, let us know and we’ll get right on adding it!

Gmail Timer - Schedule when to receive new mail

Impatient? Skip down to the installation instructions.

Gmail Timer is a Google Apps Script which lets you take control of how often you’re interrupted by email. Timer will divert all of your incoming email into a folder until moving them all into your inbox on an interval you specify, whether once an hour, once a day, or anywhere in between.

Why should I use Gmail Timer?

Here at Musubi, our business is email overload. Our average customer gets a new email every 5 to 10 minutes. That’s a lot of interruptions! And they’re not only annoying, they’re toxic to your work productivity. Researchers from the Danwood Group have found that:

  • 70% of emails are responded to in the first 6 seconds
  • 85% of emails are responded to in the first 2 minutes
  • It takes roughly 64 seconds to return to what you were doing after getting an email

That much distraction can cause a serious loss of productivity. Having worked in client services before, I was definitely one of those six second email slaves. But as I started building Musubi, I realized that checking email so often was killing my programming flow. After dashing off an email, it would take me ages to get back to work.

There are several research papers which suggests that decreasing the number of times you check email in a day can increase your productivity. As we wrote about before, it seems like the ideal number of times to check is around 4 times a day - say 9, 12, 3 and 6pm.

But if you use Gmail, there is no way to sync any less than realtime. If Gmail’s open, you’re going to be bombarded with new message notifications.

I got tired of it and wrote a simple solution using Google App Scripts. That solution is Gmail Timer.

Installation

Short instructions

  1. Make a copy of the script on Google Drive, then set up a time-based trigger to run it.
  2. Set up a filter to divert all mail matching (From:(*) in: inbox) into the label created by the script

Full instructions

  1. Open the script.

  2. Click “File”, then “Make a Copy”.
    Make a copy

  3. Authorize the script and create the deferred messages label by running the moveDelayedMessages function Authorize the function to run

  4. Set up the time interval by clicking on resources, then triggers Triggers

  5. Open Gmail and add a filter which matches the following pattern: From:(*) in: inbox. Add a filter

That’s it! You’re now running on a slower, more focused email schedule. If you’re interested in being interrupted even fewer times a day, try Musubi, which will sort through your newfound email batch and pluck out only the high priority emails.

Good luck, and take your life back from your inbox!

The secret to more email productivity might be checking in less

Remember when “Push” email was the hottest thing around? The ability to get emails sent directly to your phone, in real time, was once considered a huge leap forward in technology, but is now quite commonplace, with many users leaving their email on ‘push’ for continuous email updates.

Well, it turns out that push email may need to shove off. A report by researchers Ashish Gupta, Ramesh Sharda, and Robert Greve has found that checking your email continuously could slow down a user by up to 20 times!

The researchers measured the average time to complete a piece of work against the frequency with which a worker checked their email, ranging from checking once or twice a day (plotted below as C1 and C2, respectively) all the way up to continuous checking (plotted as C). What resulted was astonishing:

High email dependents work up to 20x slower by checking email continuouslyOptimal balance between keeping focused and being responsive at checking email 4x a day (C4). Discovered via Joshua Lyman

The results, shown above, speak for themselves. The ability to get a piece of work done is significantly hampered by checking your email more than 8 times a day, with a “sweet spot” that maximizes responsiveness and productivity at 4 times a day.

Limiting your email times to just four moments in the day helps maintain focus and build a “flow” throughout the day. By defining a dedicated block of time to email (and sticking to it!), you can lower the number of times you switch tasks throughout the day which helps get into that really deep mode of thought many of our problems require.

Interested in unlocking this productivity boost on your own? You have a few options:

  • If you’re an Outlook user, Microsoft has posted instructions on how to reduce your Send/Receive intervals
  • If you’re an iPhone user, About.com has a useful guide on changing the fetch time
  • If you’re Gmail or Google Apps user, you can try out our own Musubi, which filters our unimportant mail while still making you available for those high priority issues

Whatever way you get it done, whether changing the fetch time or just plain old turning off your devices, it’s important to let your coworkers know what’s going on. Unfortunately, the expectation of an instant response to email still pervades, so being upfront with your email habits and having an alternative, high-priority means of contacting you are important steps in unlocking your own email productivity.

If you’re overwhelmed by email, Musubi can help. Our app removes all of your unimportant, no-response email from your inbox, letting you focus on what matters. Using a secret cocktail of algorithms, we achieve filtering rates way above 75%! Check it out now for free!